As vaccination rollouts become widespread all over the country, both higher ed and K12 institutions have eased restrictions and opened for in-classroom learning once again. Students might be returning to their campuses but they won’t be returning to the same old experience. With the successes and mistakes, along with the lessons learned from last year, the education industry has drastically changed–and for the better.
Playing Catch Up
In this article, we’ve outlined some of the most pressing changes that were brought to the education industry by the pandemic. It has been a period of growth and reassessment for many teaching professionals. In fact, at the start of the pandemic, educators faced fears of online learning, with around 57% of them stating that they were ill-prepared for teaching remotely.
As a response, many organizations tried to upgrade both their technologies and their workforce’s skills in order to effectively relay lessons to their students virtually. Now that face-to-face classes are back, many teachers are planning to catch up on the missed lessons and learning gaps that arose last year.
Some of the ways organizations have initiated to combat this include:
- Longer hours
- Summer school
- Curriculum changes
Despite the concerns on the effectiveness of online learning, a test by Renaissance on around 3.8 million students in grades 1 to 8 shows that their scores actually rose for the school year 2020-2021 compared to the previous one.
Prioritizing student engagement
Educators are adamant in improving student engagement–whether it’s teaching face-to-face or virtually–as a way to bolster the understanding and retention of lessons. As such, they are implementing changes to the classroom that can be used for both setups which include:
- Video lessons that are concise and provide visuals that students engage with
- Small learning groups which ensures that each student is able to understand their lessons well
- Interactive platforms that can be used both online and offline such as Google Classroom
- Digital tools specific to certain subjects such as virtual manipulatives which allows students to explore and apply mathematical concepts digitally
Besides these, colleges and universities are asking for feedback from students in order to improve their instruction and serve their learners’ personalized needs.
The Hybrid Classroom
Although educators faced quite a steep learning curve last year in handling all the new technologies and tools for online learning, many have adapted and developed virtual teaching skills. In fact, with proper “resources, curriculum, and support,” around 94% of teachers are open to the hybrid classroom setup.
What’s more is that a report by Best Colleges saw that about one-third of school administrators planned to continue with both remote and online course options after returning to their normal campus operations.
However, it can be a difficult balancing act between these two setups. It’s still quite early to see what the long-term look of the industry will be but one thing is for sure: virtual learning has become a ubiquitous part of the learning experience, and it’s here to stay.